Tag Archives: teen fiction

Everything Everything

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I actually gasped while reading this – held my breath through a little.

Madeline is allergic to the world – she lives in a house with an airlock, and goes to school via internet.  But then a new family moves in next door, and sees Olly – and falls hard.

It’s a book about survival versus living, the lies we tell ourselves, and how love can be both prison and freedom.

There is some good clever witty banter, self-mockery, emotion.  Great teen book, nice fast read, perfect if you want something absorbing and emotional.  If you are looking for something for the John Green lover, this will do.  Out in September.

C.

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The Masked Truth does a lot of unmasking.

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Kelley Armstrong is not hesitating to go straight for the real stuff with The Masked Truth.  Although there is more representation of mental health in literature lately, there is still not nearly enough, especially in teen fiction, and this book is a valuable addition.

Teens at a group therapy session are taken hostage by masked killers, seemingly for the purpose of ransom – one of the participants comes from a very rich family.  The truth of the situation is far less straightforward, and a lot of secrets are going to come out before it’s all over.

Spoiler alert: if you don’t want to know anything more, stop reading.

I want to stand up and applaud Armstrong for her main characters.  The protagonist is struggling with PTSD, and the love interest has schizophrenia.  Armstrong shoots straight for the heart with the turmoil and fear they feel, and the struggles they endure, with so much compassion for the characters.  You don’t love Riley and Max despite their mental health – it is included in who they are, and are that much braver because of it.  There is great diversity among the characters too, on many different levels, and it makes the story feel much richer than most YA.  Even the villains aren’t one-dimensional.  I would call this YA literature.

There is some very on-point dealing with stigmatization and misunderstandings  – survivor’s guilt, PTSD, schizophrenia, homosexuality, racism.  There’s corruption, ashamed parents, estranged friends.  Well done, Ms. Armstrong – this is a book that a kid dealing with one of these things will read and think “Maybe being different isn’t bad.  Maybe it means you are that much tougher.  That much stronger.  That you are a hero for living every day with something not many other people understand.  And maybe out there, I will find someone who does.”

Bit too neat of an ending, but otherwise great.  Highly, highly recommend it.

Christie

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I Look Remarkably Like An Elf

Apparently, I look remarkably like an elf, according to a customer today.

Now there’s a statement that opens up a lot of questions you probably don’t want the answers to.   What kind of elf?  Like Cate Blanchett in Lord of the Rings elf, or Will Ferrell? Lawn gnome or Keebler?

And remarkably like an elf he’s seen in a movie, or like the little green men he sees in his mother’s basement?  Does he like elves or are they terrifying?  Compliment, or deadly insult?

This is going to bug me for a while.

Currently reading: The Reckoning, by Kelley Armstrong, thanks to Rolanda who hooked me on her teen stuff like a literary crack dealer.  Her adult stuff is also super fun, by the way.

 

Happy elfless reading.

Christie

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The Maze Runner

I finally got around to reading The Maze Runner, the first of the trilogy by James Dashner.

It slots neatly into the trend of dystopian teen novels, and has been a huge seller, along with Divergent (excellent) and Hunger Games (if you haven’t heard of it, you’re not only living under a rock, you’re living under a really remote, subterranean one).

The book has a teenage boy as a protagonist, who at the beginning of the book wakes up with no memory of his past life, knowing only his name.  He is in a place with other teens, in the middle of a giant, deadly maze.

Dashner does a great job of maintaining the suspense of the mystery, while advancing the plot.  I was a little surprised at how violent the book is – this is definitely for older teens, considering how quickly the body count mounts.    That same body count does a good job of illustrating what it’s like to make decisions when your decisions can get someone else hurt or killed, however, and is not purposeless.

In many ways the book reminds me of Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, which is one of my favorite sci-fi novels (see previous review).    I will be reading the next two novels in the series, plus the recently released prequel, next, so I’ll let you know how they go.

I recommend this for anyone who likes the dystopian genre, although I would say that this is aimed, despite the violence, at a fourteen or fifteen year old, from the style of writing.  If you have a teenager who loved Hunger Games or Divergent, or The Knife of Never Letting Go, this will probably hit the spot.

Christie

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